Sports are a funny thing, especially on an international stage. All sorts of sappy lines have been spilled about international sports – that they are a base of the global community, they foster goodwill between nations, they celebrate the world coming together. Let’s cut to the chase – sports were originally a pretty solid tool to develop better, stronger, faster soldiers, at least before automation and weaponry closed the gap. Even look at the word which denotes a follower or supporter of a team – ‘fan’. That word, of course, is short for ‘fanatic’, which describes excessive devotion to something – whether religion, politics, or yes… sports. Yes, if international sports is good for one thing – it’s as a proxy for war. I’d much rather Ireland and Great Britain battled it out on a track than a battlefield. Same goes for China and the US, the ultimate rivalry of the last two games.
Is sports gambling beatable?
Casinos, over the years, have traditionally thought of sportsbooks as an amenity to offer to their customers as opposed to a real way to make money. They cap the bets made on traditional over/unders and to people who consistently win in sports gambling (known as ‘sharps’). The casinos believe that sports gambling is beatable by a select few and just hope that the losses of the masses can wash out the gains of the few. But, the obvious question is: if it is beatable, how does one stay ahead of the market/line-setters?
What, am I crazy? Peyton Manning of the Indianapolis Colts is probably a doubtful start for the rest of the 2011 season, and perhaps has made his last start of his Colts career (The Colts would owe Manning $28 million if they exercised his contract for another year at the end of 2011 – crazy to think about). He is also due to make at a minimum $23.4 million this year – $20 million as a signing bonus for his new contract and $3.4 million in guaranteed salary. Luckily I left myself an out – the problem with painting every sports contract with the “overpaid” brush is there is an army of athletes who will never touch the salaries which make us do a double take. As Frédéric Bastiat wrote in his essay What is Seen and What is Not Seen, “Let us accustom ourselves, then, not to judge things solely by what is seen, but rather by what is not seen.”This article requires a special shout-out to Nelson Smith at Financial Uproar who planted the seed – sorry I waited until the third week of NCAA football to write this!
In early May 2007, a study gained publicity that claimed NBA referees altered their habits of calling fouls based on the racial makeup of the offending players. Maria Rainier helped write an article about discrimination in gender, I felt that it would be appropriate to continue the discussion with a look at racial bias.
It’s October and fantasy football is in full swing. Fantasy football, for the neophytes out there, is a game played by fans of the NFL who select players to fill a simulated team and then are awarded points based off of their real life performance. It has left an indelible mark on the viewing patterns and marketing techniques of NFL firms. Over 27 million people play today, leading Jake Plummer to claim that “it has ruined the game”.
From the offbeat category comes this awesome data set found through the National Journal. Scarborough USA, a joint undertaking of market research companies Nielsen and Arbitron surveyed 218,000 people between August 2008 and September 2009 to try to figure out the political leanings of sports viewers. Surveyors tried to figure out both how viewers self-identified politically, and also their likelihood to vote. This data has been published, and here is is (on ManyEyes!) for you to play with!
Payscale is a great site you can use to compare your salary offers (or current salary) with other people in your field. It aggregates data anonymously, so you can know the going market rate for your job offer (or current position!). Anyway, Payscale has a large amount of data from various sources. One of the variables they track is the college that Payscale participants attended.